Turning the Tables on Technology Training in Scotland – Natalie Lochhead, Scotland
It’s not unusual for teachers to train other teachers to leverage – and make the most of – technology. In fact, we know it’s one of the most effective ways to scale knowledge. But Natalie Lochhead has taken the concept to the next level by using the expertise of her young students (primary 4-7) to turn that tradition on its head.
As part of the Digital Leaders program, a wide network of schools throughout the UK that train teachers and students in ICT, Lochhead’s students teach full-class lessons to fellow students, and support teachers as they work to adopt 1:1 approaches in the classroom. All of this is made possible by Glow, Scotland’s national digital learning environment.
“My proudest moment in my career has been watching my digital leaders grow into amazing, confident and skilled young people,” Lochhead tells us. “I know that no matter that they do when they leave school, they will have success.” She goes on to say: “[I love] watching them training their teachers, connecting online with other educators via Glow and generally being awesome! They have made such an impact on our school becoming genuine leaders in technology. I am so proud of every one of them.”
Lochhead’s Digital Leaders are trained each Wednesday at lunch time, and then train other classes and teachers on that particular skill. To date, they’ve taught Windows 365, the basics of using a tablet and Kodu. They’ve participated in Scotland’s Kodu Cup and Hour of Code, and have even been featured in the Chamber of Commerce Business Matters Magazine. To keep track of all their activities, Lochhead maintains a class blog.
This impressive educator’s students aren’t the only ones transferring technology knowledge. As a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert, Lochhead shares her approach through the Microsoft Educator Network and participates in events like last December’s meeting of UK Showcase Schools and MIEEs. She also publishes helpful tutorials, like this one on creating animations in the classroom.
Natalie Lochhead isn’t the first teacher to recognize students’ capacity to teach, but in building a formal program to support this potential, she’s making a big difference. Enjoy today’s inspiring Daily Edventure with Natalie Lochhead.
What inspired you to become an educator?
When I was in primary school, my primary 5 teacher was amazing. She was so caring and made learning exciting. I copied everything she did from her hair to her sayings! She inspired me. I then did work experience in another school when I was in high school and knew that I had a passion for working with children and young people.
Why do you feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom?
I feel passionate about innovation and technology in the classroom because this is the way the world is going. We are immersed in technology from the moment we wake to the moment we go to sleep, and so are our young people. We need to be the ones who show them how to use it safely and effectively.
The use of Glow and Office 365 has transformed our learning. The children are able to collaborate, work individually and give each other feedback in an instant. I love the fact that they can then go online at home and show their parents what they had been doing in school that day. The digital leaders are able to connect with me on Glow via the Newsfeed and ask questions, send me ideas and share resources they have made for the school. It’s just incredible!
Whether it’s a day-to-day challenge or larger problem, what’s the biggest obstacle you or your country or region has had to overcome, or will have to overcome, to ensure a quality education for students?
The biggest obstacle we have to overcome is getting children a tablet for 1:1 use. I would love the children to have their own tablet to allow us to do even more incredible things, but it’s not always easy when we share 36 tablets between 430 pupils. More funding in education and a stronger Wi-Fi connection would be amazing.
In terms of education innovation, what are you most excited about for the future?
My biggest hope for today’s children is that technology will allow them to realize their full potential. Whether it’s being a blogger, an artist, a musician, a teacher or business owner, [I hope] that through technology children become motivated, and find a platform to showcase who they are. Teaching children is all about growing leaders and showing them how they can become the best version of themselves. Technology provides so many of ways of doing this. That excites me!
About Natalie Lochhead
Teacher and ICT Coordinator, Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert
Kirklandneuk Primary School
Renfrewshire, Scotland, UK
- Birthplace: Paisley, Scotland
- Educational background: Bachelor of Education, Primary Education at Strathclyde University
- Website I check every day: mangahigh.com
- Favorite childhood memory: Going to the beach with my Grandpa.
- Favorite book: The Secret by Rhona Byrne
- Favorite Microsoft product, tool, technology: Microsoft OneNote
- What is the best advice you have ever received? Do something every day that scares you!